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Defensive Free Agents Hope to Return; But Likely to Test Market Come March

IRVING, Texas – When it comes to changes, it seems rather clear there won't be much turnover on the coaching staff in 2016, including none with the head coach and three coordinators.

But regarding the players, it could be a different story. And considering the Cowboys went 4-12, their worst season since 1989, there should be some personnel changes.

The Cowboys have 20 free agents this offseason, including 18 unrestricted. Of those 18, at least five are considered starters – all on defense – with a few more key role players also with an expiring contract. All unrestricted free agents can re-sign with their teams before the NFL's new league year begins March 12.

Head coach Jason Garrett, and owner/GM Jerry Jones have been rather vague when discussing the futures of any expected free agents. But the players themselves were not as mum after the season finale against Washington. Most of which expressed an interest to return.

"I would love to come back. I love the Cowboys. I love everything about the organization," said defensive end Jeremy Mincey. "I don't know what the future holds, but whoever grabs Mr. Mincey is going to get one of the hungriest players in the league. I'm not leaving this game without a Super Bowl, regardless of who I play for."

On Monday, Mincey did tweet out to the Cowboys fans, thanking them for their support, which could be a sign the veteran doesn't expect to return to Dallas next year.

The Cowboys have Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence in the fold, but it's unclear on the status of Greg Hardy, who is also a free agent after signing a one-year deal in the spring. Hardy led the team with 31 quarterback pressures and had 6.0 sacks in 12 games.

Hardy said he would love to get another offer for the Cowboys to remain in Dallas.

"If they do, I would love to stay here," Hardy said. "My goal is to be on the field next year because every day on the field is a gift."

Cornerback Morris Claiborne also uttered similar words, despite the fact the Cowboys declined to give him a fifth-year option on his original contract he signed after the 2012 draft, where he was picked No. 6 overall.

"I would like to be here," Claiborne said. "We'll see what happens. I'm not really think about that right now."

But the time to think about it will be here sooner than later.

Other unrestricted free agents include Rolando McClain, Nick Hayden Jack Crawford, James Janna, Kyle Wilber and Lance Dunbar. The Cowboys do have two restricted free agents – Jeff Heath and Ronald Leary.

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